Best Spots for Fall Fun on Long Island

Some say Long Island hits its peak in the fall. Even as the foliage starts to turn wild shades of red and gold, the weather is still pleasant enough to sneak in a beach day or two. And for every summertime activity you can enjoy on Long Island, autumn answers with its own option. Outdoor festivals? Farmers' markets? Pick-your-own fruit adventures? Check out this list for some ideas.

An a-maze-ing place
Lewin Farms in Wading River is among the top spots for fall fun on Long Island. The massive farm features several varieties of pick-your-own fruit: Peaches in late August to mid-September, apples in late August to early October, and pumpkins and gourds in October. There's also a huge farm stand, along with vendors selling food like roasted corn and popcorn, and a five-acre corn maze. However, Lewin Farms is hardly the only place to go. The popular Milk Pail orchards and farm in Water Mill is a go-to place for peaches and apples, along with other local farmers' and growers' goods. Woodside Orchards in Aquebogue and Jamesport is another great pick-your-own experience, and boasts a unique, signature treat: the cider slushie. The historic Wickham's Fruit Farm in Cutchogue, portions of which have been in continual farm use since the 1600s, according to its website, is another option.

Festivals for all
There are multiple festivals every weekend in late August through early October on Long Island -- just search online and you're sure to find one nearby. Among them are the Merrick Chamber of Commerce Festival from Sept. 9-11 at the Merrick Long Island Rail Road station, the Hallockville Fall Festival and Crafts Show on Sept. 10 and 11 in Riverhead at the Hallockville Museum Farm, and the Fiddle and Folk Festival at Benner's Farm in Setauket on Sept. 11. There's also the annual Greenport Maritime Festival on Sept. 23 in Greenport Village, the Southampton Harvest Fair on Sept. 24 hosted by the Southampton Historical Museum, and the Long Island Fair at Old Bethpage Village Restoration on Sept. 24.

The harvest continues
The end of summer is approaching, but plenty of farmers' markets still extend through the fall harvest season. Those running through mid-November include the Village of Roslyn market on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., located near the Roslyn branch of the U.S. Post Office; the Rockville Centre market on Sundays from 7 a.m. to noon, located in Long Island Rail Road parking lot 12; the Kings Park market on Sundays from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. across from the Kings Park Fire Department; and others. For more farmers' market listings, visit the Long Island Farm Bureau website.

Christine Sampson is a full-time journalist who has lived on Long Island for more than 30 years.